Ephesians 6:12; The real enemy seeks to quench our spiritual lives.

Class Outline:

Wednesday April 13,2022

After studying the concept of standing firm and fighting the good fight, we return to Eph 6 and begin vs. 12 and onward. It will be very important for us to remember vs. 10-11 since those two sentences contain the main idea of the passage. Everything that now follows supports that main idea of standing firm against the schemes of the devil while being strong in the Lord and having put on God’s full armor.


The real enemy are spiritual and they seek to quench our spiritual lives, not our physical / material ones.


What Paul next points out is the source of our actual struggle, which we have already seen some of the truth concerning this. Standing firm in this struggle (fight) takes knowing, believing, and practicing the entire letter to the Ephesians.


EPH 6:12 - Our struggle is with spiritual evil forces, not humans.


EPH 6:10-17

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all [in all things], taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.


With our three imperatives understood (be strong, put on, and stand firm) we can turn to the armor itself. All of it has daily application to our walk in the manner of our election in Christ.


First of all there is a struggle. The word translated “struggle” occurs nowhere else in the NT. It refers primarily to wrestling and so it would mean more generally a fight or battle.


“Flesh and blood” is an idiom meaning human. What Paul means is that our struggle is not with human beings, but with evil spiritual forces.


Our struggle is not against people but against the devil and his demonic organization. We are to love our enemies.


I’ve already taught on the following, but it should be repeated because it should be engrained in our minds. The hardest time to remember this truth is when you find yourself most susceptible or tempted to attacking people and lashing out in emotion or anger. At those times especially, we need to remember that our true enemy is not that person but the spiritual forces of wickedness and darkness in the world and heavenly realm. It is hardest to remember it then, and we must train ourselves to do exactly that.


Every person is redeemable. Satan and the fallen angels are not. We have not been allowed to see what all happened that resulted in the angelic fall, and nothing is stated in the Bible about the redemption of angels. In fact, the Lord states that the Lake of Fire has been prepared for the “devil and his angels” (MAT 25:41). The Book of Hebrews tells us that God did not help the angels (HEB 2:16).


The devil and his angels are the true enemy and our real struggle. We must not find ourselves fighting with mankind (war and protection of family and property excluded).


Every man can become saved in Christ, and our dealings with them must always have that hope at its foundation.


As Paul said, he became all things to all men that he might save some (1CO 9:22). In that same passage he writes, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more” (1CO 9:19), and, “I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (9:27).


The four-fold list of these powers in EPH 6:12 cannot be categorized and discerned with any confidence - against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places should in my opinion lumped into one organization.


The four categories are piled together for the effect of showing us one very large wicked and dark organization.


We are not to conclude that there are four or more categories of demonic spirits that exist, rather the terms are piled up for rhetorical effect.


This is the most important point to knowing who we really struggle with - they are spiritual and therefore have as their goal the extinction of the real function of four spiritual lives in real time. The spiritual life is alive and powerful, and they know, and all Christians should know that they cannot take that life, eternal life, away from you. However, they know, and every Christian should know, that they can so influence our inner nature that we neglect to know, understand, cherish, and treasure our spiritual lives, and thus fail to live them. The spiritual life within us can lay dormant while we consciously or subconsciously live carnal, worldly lives, and sometimes being so deceived, that we are fooled into thinking that we are living spiritual lives. The only way to avoid that kind of self-deception is to have a healthy diet of the word of God literally interpreted. The only way to avoid being asleep as a Christian, is to make every effort to live the Christian life day in and day out.


Know most of all that the spiritual, wicked powers want to sap life and light out of your inner self / spiritual life.


We must not think that the goal of the wicked, dark, spiritual powers of the heavens is to dethrone God. I give Satan a little more credit than that, unless he knows nothing of God’s being. God cannot be removed or He wouldn’t be God. Satan seems more to be after the work of God on earth. Remember when Satan presented himself to God in the first two chapters of Job and God asked him, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the Lord and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it" (JOB 1:7). And when God brought up Job, Satan already knew all about the man. Satan also attacked the understanding of Adam and Eve in the Garden. He attacked the devotion and faithfulness of Jesus in the wilderness. Satan is after mankind and not so much God.


EPH 5:1-21

Therefore be imitators of God [command], as beloved children [beloved by God should imitate God]; 2 and walk in love [as beloved children], just as Christ also loved you, and [the example of love] gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.


3 But [the opposite of imitators of God who walk in love] do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you [command], as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks [you have to see life as a gift and not a pursuit of perversion and sin]. 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth) [armor - belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness], 10 trying to learn [proving] what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness [EPH 6:12], but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says,


"Awake, sleeper,

And arise from the dead,

And Christ will shine on you."


15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men [asophoi = fools (adjective as a substantive)], but as wise [sophoi], 16 making the most of your time [redeeming the time], because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish [not thinking or not understanding], but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation [asotia - the opposite of salvation and deliverance; wastefulness, riotous living], but be filled with the Spirit [present, passive, command], 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.


We see that the entire letter of Ephesians is put into practice in Paul’s last doctrinal statement about spiritual warfare in 6:10-20.